Fun with Dell Laptop WiDI

I was messing around with the WiDi driver to stream the Grateful Dead show tonite and disabled the Intel Video driver. At this point, the machine started up, did POST, did the swirly page and then a blue dim (not BSOD) screen came up and nothing. HD activity, not much else.

 Could NOT get safe mode to launch per (Fixya) How to get into safe mode
Using this article, (Dell) Inspiron 17R will not boot (5720) – I tried to change the UEFI boot to legacy boot and was able to run diagnostics and setup.
Then used Pre-boot assessment error 2000-0332, Inspiron 7720  to run the Pre Boot Assessment
After messing around, I was able to see
2000-0332 Video memory – Video memory integrity test discrepancy ePSA diagnostics detected a video memory failure. Please reset the system memory and update the BIOS to most current version/
  • Update to the latest BIOS.
  • Reseat the system memory
  • Turn off your computer and reconnect your LCD cable.
  • Repeat the ePSA diagnostics..
  • If failure continues contact Technical Support
It said to update the Bios, I was at A18, the latest was A19  (Dell) Inspiron 5720 System BIOS
I used (Dell) How to Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive using Dell Diagnostic Deployment Package (DDDP) to create a bootable flash disk. I then copied the new flash utility to the flash image, ran the program to create the flash booter. Booted fine, and ran the installer from the DOS command line. Success.
Reset the boot mode to UEFI or windows would not boot.
It came up with the same blue screen. I started whomping on the LCD/CRT key, thinking I had put the video to external CRT, and I got the login screen. Whew.
Now I need to turn on the safe mode boot option before I try again…
Now why didn’t I want a MacBook???

Dirty Printer Test Page

I started getting vertical dark lines in my ADF scans on the the highly great Canon MF4570dw Laser/Multifunction.

Use this to determine location of small bits of dust on your scans. Then clean the glass under the ADF guide, slide it out carefully.

Print the OpenOffice file Dirty Printer Test Sheet and then feed the ADF. Your white streaks can be located and the cleaning intensified at that location. Takes several tries in my experience.

See: Black vertical line on scans and inspired by the suggestion from Fixya Lines when scanned

Burnt Teapot

So I started the teapot up today, and went downstairs to check one thing. Ten minutes later I came up and there was no whistle. After checking the teapot, there was no water.

With our old crappy teapot, I wouldn’t care. Let it cool down, whatever. Of course this teapot is a 19/10 stainless teapot from the Eva Zeisel by Chantal collection, interestingly no longer sold (although the enamel clad one is). We inherited it from Aunt Lynn, and she liked nice stuff, and it is beautiful. After I cooked it, not so much.

Eva Zeisel by Chantal teakettle
This is the teakettle I destroyed.
It was discolored about two inches up from the bottom, with some burnt spots of something all over. It just got really hot, and burnt every piece of dirt on it. SO I started Googling and found from Chantal’s Use & Care:

If water has been boiled dry from the teakettle TURN OFF HEAT and do not remove teakettle until it has cooled. Leaving a dry teakettle on a hot burner can melt enamel/aluminum base and damage the teakettle and burner. This could be a possible source of fire.

Nice. The flame was on real low, since I knew I wasn’t sitting there, so maybe the damage is not bad. Another post recommended Bar Keeper’s Friend. It has saved me before, as it is a very nice fine abrasive. Another post says the metal is damaged beyond repair, and the wife will kill me. Well, the post didn’t really say that, I did.

So I started polishing with some BKF with a few drops of water, and used my clean hands. Luckily, most of the discoloration came off, except near the bottom, probably where the heat was highest. Good thing I a) caught it soon, and b) used low heat. Some of the burnt crust came off too, so it really looks good now.

The teakettle itself is nice, but not as functional as the cheapy. You could operate the cheapy with one hand, you need to remove the Chantal plug with your hand without getting burned by steam. Get used to it. It does not whistle reliably, either. B**ch, b**ch, b**ch.

Weller WTCPN Repair

I got a free day off today — and it’s too darn cold outside — so time to attack a few jobs that have been neglected.

First was my old Weller WTCPN soldering station that I inherited from several jobs ago when they ditched hardware development – very tacky now in this lead-free era, but used to work great, and I don’t want to invest lots in a new RoHS solder station that overheats things faster that I use twice a year. And Radio Shack still sells loads of 63-37 solder.

But my station developed a problem with the jack where the iron plugs into the base. It was intermittent for the longest time, then just stopped working (of course the last time I tried to use it). So I found a Weller TC369A repair kit on eBay for $10, original mfg. part. Shipped here. Cheap.

Open the base with 4 screws. Clip clip clip the wires, and replace them with the new plug using (another set of ) wire nuts (supplied). Screws back. Done.

The iron half requires a big iron because you gotta tin leads and solder them to a big tubular plug — think a DIN plug. The tinned wire did not fit, so I just got a good joint at the base and it was fine.

So it seems to work. Heats up fast, and the thermo control seems to click louder and more regular, like the connection was bad all along. Yay!